We have reflected many times through the ‘A-Z of Marketing’ on the fact that small business owners are time poor. When you are doing everything yourself, or with only a few people to help you use your time to get the job done, leaving not much time to plan.
Finding 10 minutes for setting goals and objectives can give a clear direction of where you are going and help keep the big picture clarified. This post will also discuss S.M.A.R.T goal setting, and give you a step by step approach to its implementation.
What are Goals and Objectives?
Goals and objectives are the desired outcomes or achievements for your business. They are formalised statements of everything you want (and need) your business to grow toward.
Goals provide a broad overall aim; they tend to be the long term, big picture. It is best to limit your goals to around 5 each year. You are unlikely to have the time or the resources to stretch further and the more you are trying to achieve, the less focus each goal receives.
Objectives are a specific aim or target that, when met, help achieve a goal. Several objectives may combine to achieve a goal.
Often a marketing objective is created to help achieve a financial goal e.g. A businesses goal is to ‘increase sales by 20% by end of 2012’, so a marketing objective is set to help achieve that goal; ‘grow mailing list to 10,000 subscribers by end 2012’ etc.
SMART Goals and Objectives
S.M.A.R.T is the acronym used in goal and objective setting; following is what it stands for and what it means to your planning:
When setting your goal or objective you need to be clear about what you want to achieve. Each goal or objective should have a single focus; that is, should only be concerned with one achievement.
What are you going to do? Grow, increase, decrease, develop, etc
Goals and objectives are the road map for your business. If they are not measureable, it can be hard to determine if they have been achieved. A measurable goal is also easier to manage; we can check our progress and adjust our objectives to ensure we achieve our end goal.
The measurement needs to be quantifiable e.g. change in dollars, percentages, averages, counts etc.
We all know how de-motivating unachievable goals can be, when the bar is set too high and there seems to be no possible way of reaching the goal, a majority of us will put it in the too hard basket and move on.
Set your goals and objectives so they can be achieved, but with a stretch, this will cement your commitment to the task.
A realistic goal or objective is one that supports your businesses knowledge and skill base. It fits in to how your business works and it doesn’t require investment in time or money that is not available.
Often long term goals (3-5 year plans) are broken down into short term goals (annual plan) so that they become bite size pieces that are realistic. These short term goals are supported by objectives to give them day to day meaning.
Long Term Goal
- Be the #1 provider of business cards in Australia by 2015
Short Term Goal
- Increase repeat sales by 20% by 30 June 2012
- Increase customer loyalty by 25% by 30 June 2012 using a customer rewards program
- Increase customer base by 15% by 30 June 2012 using a customer referral program
- Send a promotional offer to every customer 4 times per year during the 2012 financial year
Giving your goal a deadline, draws a line in the sand. It gives you a definitive point where you have to stop and say “Did we make it?”
Whether it is weeks, months or years, a timeframe forces you to stay on track, it motivates you and for some of us last minute magicians, it’s the shove needed to get the job done.
This infographic is great to print out and place somewhere in your work space to assist you in creating SMART goals and objectives.
To help get you into the swing of thinking SMART, here are some business goals rewritten as SMART goals
|Achieve increased awareness by December 2011||Increase awareness by 5% by 30 December 2011|
|Grow sales to $15k||Grow sales to $15k by 30 June 2012|
|Increase the market share we hold in key areas so that we are satisfied we are growing by financial year end||Grow market share a minimum of 10% in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane by 30 June 2012|
|Increase our profitability from $5k to $40k by December 2011||Increase our profitability by a minimum of $1k per year for the next 5 years; to be measured at each financial year end from 2012 – 2017|
|Get more likers on Facebook and followers on twitter and readers on the blog||Grow Facebook likers to 500 by 30 December 2011Grow Twitter follows to 300 by 30 December 2011Increase blog subscription by 20% by 30 December 2011|
As 2012 approaches quickly, think of what you want to achieve. What goals and objectives will you set? Will they be SMART?
Until next week, O is for Objectives and also getting organised to grow your business in 2012.